A portrait of a Brasilian bioentrepreneur

Mar 08, 2019
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Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada, China and US. With more than 190 million people, the country is divided into 26 federal states and one federal district in which the capital, Brasilia, is located. Today it is the biggest economy in Latin America and the eighth-largest economy in the world. In accordance with a Goldman Sachs study, Brasil will become the world’s fourth-biggest economy by 2050. It has also the most natural diversity in the planet, is self-sustainable in oil and one of the largest exporters of commodities in the world.

As every strong country has struggled in learning how to grow, Brasil is also learning on its own and from others how to develop its economy, step by step. Development is not only about a strong economy, but also about education and innovation. Indeed, Brasil must improve its expertise on managing extensive resources and natural advantages, but it also must continue to develop its knowledge of investing and creating innovative technologies, especially with biotechnology. The biotech industry in Brasil is about 15 years old and divided in 5 different sectors: human and animal health, agriculture, reagents, bioenergy and environment. My goal with blogging is to share my experiences surviving as an entrepreneur in the biotech industry. I want to discuss the challenges and efforts required for a bioentrepreneur to succeed.

I work in a typical Brasilian biotech company, meaning one created by a researcher or professor from a university, one with a technology it would like to sell. The company I work with was created by two brothers: one a dentist and scientist, and the other a physician and entrepreneur. After developing an innovative technology with no public or private money, the two brothers then created a company to manufacture and commercialize their technology. This was in the 1980’s, and their tissue-regeneration product, named Osteosynt, was far ahead of its time. Thirty years later, their invention has become one of the most efficient solutions in the world for tissue engineering applied in the reconstruction of bones losses or defects.

By looking back at this experience and at the Brasil of today, we’ll get an idea of the challenges that a bioenterpreneur faces in Brasilian biotech – this young, dynamic, competitive and complex industry.

Julio Vito Wykrota

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